Viome is one of the more well-known companies offering at-home gut health testing, as well as subscriptions for various pre and probiotic supplements and other vitamins.
This Viome review covers my experience of the process of taking, and receiving results from, one of Viome’s Health Intelligence tests.
What are Viome tests?
The Viome Health Intelligence test is a gut health and blood testing kit that you do at home and send to Viome in the mail.
It’s one of several levels of gut microbiome tests Viome offers. This particular one involves a blood test as well as a gut (stool sample) test.
I’m pretty skeptical about at-home test kits, especially where there is no contact with, or involvement from, a medical professional in the handling of your test or communication of the results.
BUT, as a curious person, I am open-minded about what I can learn from them.
If you’re considering doing one yourself, have in mind that it’s obviously not a substitute for more extensive testing and consultation with a professional.
That said, when Viome reached out and asked if I wanted to try one, I agreed – I wanted to experience for myself how the process works, and what the results might tell me about my gut health and general well-being.
Specifically, as a runner and active person, I’ve been curious for some time about whether there is anything I should know to help improve my energy levels and general cellular health.
Learning more about these areas could translate to athletic improvements such as better performance and quicker recovery from intensive efforts, or even injury recovery/repair.
Perhaps my Viome cellular health test results could point me in the right direction?
Taking the Viome Gut and Blood Test
The first thing to know about taking one of these Viome tests is that perhaps obviously, you need to collect your own stool and blood samples so they can be sent off to Viome for analysis.
You’re provided with instructions and disposable materials to do both.
For some people, collecting your own blood and poop may be something you’d prefer not to do; for others, perhaps it’s no big deal.
For the stool sample, the collection paper you’re given is supposed to be flushable.
However, it’s thick paper and in my experience will not flush down and could cause a blockage, so you’re better off throwing it in the trash.
Do this before trying to flush it – you’ll thank me later.
When it comes to providing a blood sample, it’s worth knowing that Viome requires you to fill four (yes – FOUR) small pipettes of blood, which you obtain using a finger prick – first thing in the morning, before eating anything.
I asked my husband to make the finger prick – a little device is included in your Viome pack to do it.
I then set to collecting the blood samples. This was pretty straightforward for the first three pipettes.
Although I am not squeamish at the sight of a small amount of blood, I did find myself feeling faint at one point, though, and had to get my husband to fill the last vial for me while I lay down, rather than doing it myself.
He then transferred the blood from the pipettes into the two small vials, pictured below, to be sent off for testing.
Packaging up the samples was simple and when it’s ready you just drop them in a mailbox, in the prepaid packet provided in your kit.
A couple of days later I received an email confirmation that Viome had received my sample and had started with the testing process.
‘Digesting’ my Viome testing results
I received an email notification that my results were ready around three weeks after sending the samples off.
You can see the results online by logging in to Viome’s website or using the app.
Viome Gut test results
For the gut test results, I wasn’t particularly surprised to see some pre and pro-biotics being recommended to me to help improve my gut health.
If I wanted to take them then they’d be simple – one daily powdered stick pack.
Anecdotally it seems that most people, at some point in time, may benefit from some added pre or probiotics – probably myself included.
However, as I do not suffer from any significant gastrointestinal issues and believe I eat well, I haven’t been convinced to start a regular supplement regimen.
Personally, I don’t believe it’s necessary as these should come from the food you consume, not tablets or pills.
My nutrition recommendations were all sensible and consistent with my view of what ‘healthy eating’ should look like. There were no drastic changes to what I eat being suggested to me.
I didn’t receive any surprising recommendations and, unlike my Check My Body Health food sensitivity test results, Viome’s results didn’t suggest that I may need to cut out almost everything I eat, which was reassuring, if not surprising, as I eat pretty well and mostly plant-based.
Cellular health test results
The Cellular health test results come from an AI-driven analysis of your blood samples.
I received some interesting recommendations regarding my energy systems which have led me to review my current diet to see where I can naturally make improvements in this area.
As an example, apparently, my ‘Mitochondrial Health score’ was not optimal.
The explanation for what this could mean was that my “cells are not receiving enough energy to function efficiently, resulting in accelerated aging, and poor metabolism, cardiovascular, and brain health.”
The explanation went on to say that my supplement recommendations may include nutrients to boost mitochondria production or other coenzymes needed to increase cellular energy (ATP).
This sounded quite serious and something I definitely want to get on to improve, so I was interested to turn over to the supplement recommendations to see what was being recommended to me to help in this area.
I was really hoping for a recommended supplement that I could understand, that was – say – one tablet a day – or perhaps, two.
Ideally, this tablet would be something reasonably priced, of good quality ingredients and sources, that I could take to help kick-start improvements in key areas while I also boosted the nutrients I would want to obtain through my diet.
I would most likely have signed up for that.
Instead, however, my ‘unique custom supplement’ formula that was recommended to me included 50 ingredients, obtained by taking eight capsules, daily. 8 capsules… daily!
I think you probably know what my reaction to the recommendation was. There’s no way that I need to supplement my diet with this many pills and ingredients, every single day.
I am not a nutrition expert but I don’t think it should be normal for an otherwise generally healthy individual to take that many supplements, every day.
That being said, the recommendations I received have definitely provoked some thought, and if I believed they required further investigation or supplementation then I would go and see a specialist in this area and talk to them about it – probably at the same time as getting some more fulsome testing done to double-check the results.
Viome review summary
I believe there is a place for these at-home tests, but they should not be expected to be a substitute for seeing a professional and getting the tests done that they recommend.
Whether or not one of these tests may be helpful to you will probably depend on your personal situation, health, and goals.
Like all such gut microbiome tests you can take at home, Viome’s are not FDA-approved, but that’s not to say they can’t be helpful in learning about your gut health and other health factors.
If you’re curious about your diet and are looking for some guidance around foods that may (and may not) be beneficial for you, the list of foods to enjoy vs. avoid may be helpful and provoke thought and simple changes you can make to your everyday diet.
The Viome Health Intelligence Test I took usually costs $329, however at the time of writing this Viome review it is currently discounted to $229.
To learn more about the Viome tests and where you can order one, visit Viome’s website, where they periodically offer discounts or bundles if you buy the tests on a subscription plan together with supplements.